(Washington, D.C.) – First Student school bus drivers in Bloomfield and Somers, Connecticut made a strong statement of solidarity, voting overwhelmingly in favor of representation by Bloomfield-based Teamsters Local 671.
The drivers in Bloomfield voted 37-1 in favor of joining the union, while drivers in Somers cast their ballots 12-5 to be represented by the Teamsters.
The 60 new Teamster members are part of a growing list of school bus workers who are joining the Teamsters Union, including more than 1,500 workers who have organized as Teamsters in the last month.
“I supported joining the Teamsters because I know they can help us,” said Karen Gladu, a driver at the First Student bus yard in Somers. “I think driving a bus is an important job and we should be treated that way. We’re driving the next generation.”
Kizziy Johnson, a driver with First Student in Bloomfield, is pleased with the vote and the strong showing of support by her coworkers.
“The turnout was great. We all came out to vote and are hoping to make some changes, like improving our benefits, wages and overall conditions,” Johnson said.
According to Tony Lepore, President of Local 671, the local now represents workers at 15 bus locations operated by First Student, STA, Durham and M&J Bus Inc.
“We look forward to getting to work on negotiations to address the workers’ concerns in Bloomfield and Somers, such as wages and changing policies,” Lepore said.